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  1. #1
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Fabric Softener enhanced fires

    Has anyone experience any fires lately where clothes have burned more readily than ever before. It seem that some of the ingredients used in fabric softeners have caused fire resistiveness to be reduced.

    A recent test conducted at the Metro Fire Training Center in Englewood Colorado in Cooperation with West Metro and Littleton Colorado Fire Departments and CBS Affiliae in Denver showed that this is definately a concern.

    3 identical terry cloth robes were purchased brand new, taken to a commercial laundromat, washed in the same detergent, then each placed in a separate dryer, with 1 being dryed with bounce sheets, 1 with nothing the third was dried using a randomly (out of 7 like liquid softeners) selected softener liquid.

    Once they were dried they were taken to the burn building, where 3 firefighters from littleton used blow torches to ignite the 3 robes, 2 had flame lengths less than 1 inch, while the 3rd one which was dried with the liquid softener was burned over 80% of its material in less than 30 seconds.

    This might be an issue the fire service wants to take up.



  2. #2
    CousinVinny354
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Why would this be of concern to you anyway? I thought you guys don't do any interior firefighting out there?

    You cant see panties go up from the collapse zone!!

    I got a pen and a clipboard for you, just let me know where to stick it.

    Gotta go and practice for the combat challange so that I can impress Nate and represent the east coast... yeah right

    Vinny

  3. #3
    Engine69
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by CousinVinny354:
    Why would this be of concern to you anyway? I thought you guys don't do any interior firefighting out there?

    You cant see panties go up from the collapse zone!!

    I got a pen and a clipboard for you, just let me know where to stick it.

    Gotta go and practice for the combat challange so that I can impress Nate and represent the east coast... yeah right

    Vinny
    Awww.. can't you just feel the love???

  4. #4
    ENGINE18-3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Awww.. can't you just feel the love???

    Yeah ain't it great!!!

    ------------------
    The statements above are my own opinions

    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

  5. #5
    LMfire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Oh Great Firefighter Marshal,
    How did they find the time to do the testing with all the fires you have out there. Since you said you guys are always busy with all the wild fires and structure fires.

    I'll make sure i think before i wash any of my robes ever again.

  6. #6
    EastKyFF
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    You people can ruin any decent topic with your dumb coastal rivalries. Not a single post about the subject at hand.

    It would behoove us all to pay some attention to fire prevention and not just shooting our mouths off about who can put out the fire the best and the fastest.

    As a parent, I am very interested in anything relating to the flame-retarding capability of clothing. Those seconds make the difference in extinguishing a person's burning clothes before more widespread and serious burning can occur.

    As to the wise remark about the burning panties, maybe some of us are concerned about keeping the panties from igniting the whole blessed building by making them a little less flammable. Great big fires are fun, but I get a terrific feeling thinking that something I have taught somebody has kept them from losing their home.

    Confine your stupid arguments to a stupid thread somewhere (WebTeam, how about launching a "Divisive and Counterproductive Bickering" forum?), and let those of us who are trying to improve ourselves and help our communities have constructive discussions with other larger-minded individuals.


  7. #7
    Fire Line
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The label on theNomex coverall my department wears for wildland fires states "DO NOT use fabric softener" so most manufacturers have known about this for a while. Check with your supplier.

    In the test it was only liquid fabric softener that seemed to be the problem.

  8. #8
    51Truck_K
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    He's right..this is a growing problem for all those who are realizing the benefits of soft clothes...especially here on the East Coast, where panties burn hotter than on the Left Coast!!!!!

  9. #9
    391HD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Liquid fabric softners are nothing more than water soluble oil with fragrances added.

    Try using plain old vinegar in the washer's fabric softner bowl to get your clothes soft, rather than "oil." Maybe a test could be conducted to see if vinegar treated clothing has any flammable characteristics.

    This would indeed be a good life safety/fire prevention topic.

  10. #10
    mtnfireguy
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    First... It has nothing to do with washing or softening PPE.

    Second.. We have no "coast" in the Rockies, so its not a coastal issue.

    Third... Sure maybe it should be in the fire prevention forum, but it is something we should be concerned about, especially parents.

  11. #11
    mamaluke
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Nathan,

    You blew it. Do you have any teeth left in your mouth? Consider yourself lucky if you do.

  12. #12
    johnusn971
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by EastKyFF:



    As a parent, I am very interested in anything relating to the flame-retarding capability of clothing. Those seconds make the difference in extinguishing a person's burning clothes before more widespread and serious burning can occur.

    As to the wise remark about the burning panties, maybe some of us are concerned about keeping the panties from igniting the whole blessed building by making them a little less flammable. Great big fires are fun, but I get a terrific feeling thinking that something I have taught somebody has kept them from losing their home.


    My only question is...

    Who wears a Robe, panties, whatever around an open flame? I mean, are you really sitting there, say welding in a terry cloth robe that you just washed? If your house is on fire, anything you are wearing exposed to a direct flame of almost 500 degrees is going to ignite.

    Using logic and reason, rather makes this topic, null and void.

    Here is a tip....Do not expose any clothing to a flamethrower, blowtorch, or any other open flame, including ovens. There, the world is much safer. Someone get Hanes to put that on their panties. I know my girlfriend will feel much safer.

    Doc DC3


  13. #13
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    After talking to Jeff Christ a Littleton BC I found out that the news station picked the ingredients and the material. Who knows why they picked terrycloth. Jeff thinks that this would happen to alot of materials that people wear, not nomex, they tried nomex dried in fabric softener too and it didnt do anything.


  14. #14
    FFTrainer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by johnusn971:
    My only question is...

    Who wears a Robe, panties, whatever around an open flame? I mean, are you really sitting there, say welding in a terry cloth robe that you just washed? If your house is on fire, anything you are wearing exposed to a direct flame of almost 500 degrees is going to ignite.

    Using logic and reason, rather makes this topic, null and void.

    This is all fine and good that people will not be sitting welding a little metal in their robe, but how about sitting by a fire in the winter, sitting next to one of these 3 and 4 wick candles that are popular these days.

    Not to mention I don't believe you can make anything null and void when it is subject to human judgement... We all know how long we've been on a job where someone has used their 'best' judgment!

  15. #15
    Althea Forhan
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    People cook too, you know.

    Gotta go, I've got to just happen to dry dad's 25+ year old robe with some liquid and just happen to light it on fire.

    Althea

  16. #16
    EastKyFF
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Last time I checked, we refer to building AND CONTENTS fires. The house does not burn out from around the panties and terry cloth robes.

    And yes, people in robes and panties DO get around fires--gas burners on stoves, candles at Christmas, fireplaces...

    Every fire starts with something. Don't clothes dryers have failures that start fires? Aren't clothes dryers often full of, say, panties and terry cloth robes?

    Sorry to hear that blowtorches, etc. are the only things that will ignite some people's panties.




    [This message has been edited by EastKyFF (edited 05-02-2001).]

  17. #17
    Chiefkeo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    Well I hope this response will get treated with more seriousness than some of the earlier ones, if not so be it. As for the orginal post I say AMEN! I work as a Appliance Service Tech. For more than 20 years many of us in this field have known of the tendancies of softner sheets especially to have chaacteristics that may cause a higher failure rate of certain parts as well as a higher flammabilty level of fabrics. Ever hear that there are increasing numbers of dryer fires? This dispite the fact that manufacturers continue to add safety features and sensors to dryers? Just take the lint from a dryer where softner is not used and compare that with lint where it is used, you will see a dramatic difference. Ever hear of the lady that just put her clothes in a box or hamper after they came out of the dryer only to later return and find them starting to burn, I have. Yes this is an issue that should interest the fire service, aren't we supposed to help keep our customers safe. Why is this problem worse for some than for others? Over use, yep those sheets are designed to be used for 4-6 loads. Put most people don't read that. They use a new sheet with every load, or worse they just keep adding them and soon there are 10 of them little fire starters tumbling around inside the dryer. So get serious guys. Take this info and pass it on to your customers. That is what these forums are for and I'm sure that was the intent of this topic.

    ------------------
    I shall fear no evil, for I am a Firefighter

  18. #18
    Jolly Roger
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Good topic.

    I had never really given it much thought. We have our share of dryer induced fires, ususally determined to be caused by electric shorts and clogged filters.

    Now there is another possibility. Hmm, I learned something. Even though I have never attended a EFOP type program, I thank you for bringing this topic up.

    ------------------
    Let us never, ever forget those of us that have gone before us in the line of duty. Because those brave souls have given all, it is up to us to always keep them alive in our hearts and our memories.

    FTM-PTB-EGH
    http://www.geocities.com/midamericafools

  19. #19
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    They also tried that no burn product that is on the market. Guess what the side treated with no burn went up faster than the side not treated. Kind of kills no burn.

  20. #20
    medtranz
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by johnusn971:
    My only question is...

    Who wears a Robe, panties, whatever around an open flame? I mean, are you really sitting there, say welding in a terry cloth robe that you just washed? If your house is on fire, anything you are wearing exposed to a direct flame of almost 500 degrees is going to ignite.
    How is your girlfriend going to feel in the next winter? Her new terry cloth robe (you bought her) accidently brushes past your heater and ignites.Next in her panic she will attempt to run from the flame, now she has 3rd degree burns on 90% of her body ,and now the carpet is on fire.Now your loved one dies from the severe burns. Why because instead of trying to learn, you wanted to be a smartass !!!



    [This message has been edited by medtranz (edited 05-09-2001).]

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